Long-term water main break adds more time to repair schedule

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – The westerly portion of Navesink River Road that has been closed and under repair since April 1 has incurred another round of unexpected delays. County engineers are now hopeful the project will be completed by June 30.

Faulty mark-outs and additional construction requirements by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have further delayed the opening of the road.

“This is an unfortunate occurrence for the residents in that area who are forced to detour around it,” said Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Public Works & Engineering, which is repairing the road. “We are well into the construction phase and these additional  efforts to improve the supporting soil conditions surrounding the drainage pipes will yield a better and stronger culvert.”

“I again thank the nearby residents for their patience during this project. I know they will be happy with the new road when it reopens,” Curley said.

Heavy rains in March had caused a culvert running under Navesink River Road to collapse, forcing the closure of the road between Route 35 and Hubbard Avenue. The road had been expected to remain closed to vehicular traffic for four weeks until repairs were made.

But at the start of the project, two faulty mark-outs by the water company caused an 8-inch and a 24-inch water main to be damaged. Furthermore, at the direction of the DEP design specifications were upgraded to include additional concrete fortification.  The improved specifications will prolong the life of the new culvert underneath the road.

Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore said both water mains have been repaired and installation of the new culvert is progressing.

“The re-enforced concrete support slabs under the new culvert have been cast,” Ettore said. “Following a three-day cure period over the Memorial Day weekend, backfilling operations will commence to allow for the final installation of pipes.”

Navesink River Road adjacent to Poricy Brook Pond serves as an earthen dam with two pipes running underneath. As the height of the pond rose, it put pressure and velocity on the water passing underneath the road, undermining the supporting soil and unsettling the road. Water drains from Poricy Brook Pond to Swimming River farther south.

The damaged pipes were 50 years old and constructed of corrugated steel pipes 60 inches in diameter. They were side by side under the road. Those pipes are being replaced with concrete pipes and improved fortification which will be stronger and is expected to last longer .

Navesink River Road will remain closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrian access through the site will be allowed at all times due to the proximity of the Nut Swamp Elementary School.

The county’s bridge and road crews are performing the work in-house, alleviating the expense and the time it would take to go out for public bidding to hire a private contractor. Despite the delays, the county project will be completed more expeditiously and with a cost savings.

Motorists traveling from the north on Navesink River Road detour onto Route 35 south, traverse Cooper’s Bridge into Red Bank and over the West Front Street bridge to Hubbard Avenue and then back to Navesink River Road. Motorists traveling from the south have to take Nut Swamp Road to Middletown-Lincroft Road to Oak Hill Road to Route 35.